Estate Planning Lawyer
It has been widely reported that more than two-thirds of American adults neither have a will nor any other legally-enforceable form of estate planning documentation in place. If you are thinking about forming a trust, know that this option is both available to you and may be valuable regardless of whether you have been proactive in your estate planning efforts already or you have yet to attend to this specific legal and financial need.
Trusts can be created for estate planning purposes, financial purposes, and to facilitate the achievement of goals in both of these areas. Those who use trusts primarily for financial means tend to utilize them to minimize tax liability. Those who use them for estate planning purposes primarily use them to avoid probate. Yet, there are additional kinds of trusts that may be used to assist loved ones with their educational expenses, to provide for those with special needs, and to give to charitable causes close to one’s heart.
The question of whether you should consider creating a trust does not reflect a singular answer that applies to everyone. For example, if you have very few assets, you may be in a phase of life wherein a will would serve you better than a revocable living trust for the purposes of estate planning. Conversely, if you’re very interested in providing for a grandchild’s education but you want to put conditions on how and when the funds you’re providing can be used, setting up an educational trust may serve as an excellent way to achieve your goal.
The Ins and Outs of Trusts
As an experienced Knoxville, TN estate planning lawyer – including those who practice at Carpenter & Lewis PLLC – can explain in greater detail, there are many different kinds of trusts. Some are revocable, which means that they can be altered by the creator after they have been executed. Some are irrevocable, which means that they can’t generally be altered or “taken back” once they’ve been put into place.
One of the most commonly utilized kinds of trusts is a revocable living trust. This trust is generally constructed so that any income generated by the assets in the trust are directed towards the creator while the creator remains alive. Upon the creator’s death, the trust assets are dispersed to beneficiaries named in the trust. This arrangement is popular because it serves as an alternative to a will. Why take the time to create a trust instead of executing a simple will? In many states, wills are subject to a legal process known as probate. Creating a revocable living trust allows assets to bypass probate. This approach can save an estate money in taxation and can spare surviving loved ones the stresses of navigating probate in the wake of suffering loss.
If this, or any other kind of trust, sounds appealing to you, schedule a consultation with an experienced estate planning lawyer in your area to learn more. Asking questions doesn’t commit you to take any particular plan of action but doing so will help to ensure that you’re informed as you move forward.